The University notes with sadness the death of Sir Fazle in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 20th December 2019 aged 83, after a short illness.
He was the founder of the Bangladeshi NGO, BRAC soon after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, returning to the country from a secure financial career in London, using his own savings to start a relief organisation in the context of the humanitarian crisis and devastation of the country. His commitment to the poor in Bangladesh, especially vulnerable women and children never wavered. Over time, his vision created a mega organisation with over 200k employees, which not only served the poor in Bangladesh but in a further 11 poor countries in Asia and Africa. His organisation attracted worldwide funding, including from UK-DFID. The early focus was on food distribution, but he quickly expanded into oral rehydration to combat cholera and diarrhoea. He saw the reduction of maternal mortality and improvement in new-born child health as among his strongest achievements, but he also initiated a large primary education programme with thousands of schools, a microcredit programme covering the whole country which became a poor people’s bank (including electronic transfers), a University including the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development Studies with which several colleagues at Bath were closely associated.
Geof Wood, from Bath, paid tribute to him in the Bangladesh daily ‘The Daily Star’ (23.12.19), writing: "…He mixed leadership with modesty, a rare quality… His contribution to development is global, while never losing sight of individual suffering and practical remedies. And he was never afraid of being ambitious for BRAC, seeing scale as a virtue. An inquisitive and generous listener, before steering - gently, but firmly. The people of Bangladesh can show who they are through him and his legacy."
Emeritus Professor of International Development